Museum Heist: WW2 Relics Stolen

Eyewitness Museum in Beek, Holland, closed after thieves rammed through front door and looted the contents
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Burglars wreaked havoc in the Eyewitness Museum in Beek during the night of August 2-3, 2020. 

The museum houses the private collection of Wim Seelen who said thieves struck around 3:15 am. "The heart is out of the museum," is how he described the museum on the Maastrichterlaan.

They rammed through the front door

"Everything has been destroyed," Seelen reported. "The front door has been rammed. All the display cases are broken, the doors have been smashed." 

Authorities estimate the break-in lasted about five minutes. "The perpetrators parked a bus in front of the road and came with several vehicles," said Seelen. "They came in with a battering ram. They knocked out all the doors and windows." 

The thieves took weapons, some of which, according to Seelen, still work. Helmets and fully clothed mannequins were the other primary targets.

According to the police, the perpetrators left their vehicle at the Jan Linders supermarket, about two hundred meters from the museum. Witnesses have stated that there were six to eight burglars.

German Paratrooper Collection Stolen

The thieves stole items from a specialized collection that told the story of a German parachutist. The museum, which opened in 2013, housed a collectionof thirteen "dioramas" with more than 150 fully clothed mannequins, nine of which were stolen,  according to Seelen. The dioramas  were all behind glass. Four of those were destroyed.

Seelen told Dutch language newspaper, Limburg, "The extensive collection consists solely of original attributes and a number of masterpieces that are very rare and precious. They knew what they were looking for."

Museum housed a private collection

The museum, which opened in 2013, features much of Seelen's private collection. He sold his family business in 2006, and then took up collecting military relics from the Second World War. 

Seelen is devastated by the burglary and is not sure whether he can continue with the museum. “The heart has been snatched out.” A week after the event, however, he told De Limburger, "We are opening again!"

The museum is closed until further notice. If you encounter any of these pieces, contact: info@eyewitnesswo2.nl Phone: +31 (0) 46 43 707 69; Maastrichterlaan 456191 AB Beek, The Netherlands

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